Elizabeth Daniels 2/10
Eight months ago Nguyen Tran and his wife Thi Tran started an underground restaurant serving pan-Asian comfort food out of their apartment in the valley. It quickly grew to become the number one rated Asian fusion restaurant in LA on Yelp which Nguyen attributes to simply having fun with food: " I think we're #1 not because we served the best food, but we had a lot of fun w/ different Pan-Asian dishes that most haven't had before (Taiwanese Fried Pork Chops, Malaysian Chicken Curry), and of course the speak easy element I'm sure added a whole lot too. There we served food 'Soup Nazi-style' and did it one dish at a time." Fast forward to Friday February 16, the Trans opened their first real above ground restaurant Starry Kitchen downtown, a smallish indoor/outdoor cafe, simply designed with fun colorful touches.
Since the restaurant and restaurant owners are both clearly new to the game current hours are 11AM-3PM with the plan to open for dinner on Thursday and Friday nights in the future. As expected, the reasonably priced menu (dishes under $9) is an Asian hodgepodge, lemongrass chicken, tofu balls, coconut pok, or braised short rib are served in your choice of vessel: salad, wrap, banh mi and so on. Also important to note, parking in this area of downtown is not easy. The best bet is to drive on Olive (not Grand) and turn left into the garage under the bridge (it says 350 Grand California Plaza on it) and with validation costs $3. [EaterWire]